What is Responsive Website Design?

It’s a method whereby a designer creates a web page that “responds to” or resizes itself conditional on the type of device it is being viewed through. That could be a large desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen.

Responsive web design has developed into one of the hottest trends over the last few years. This is partly due to the evolution of smartphones and other mobile devices. More people are using smaller-screen devices to view web pages.

Why Businesses Need Responsive Web Design

If you have a type of “analytics tracker” on your website, check your traffic and you just may be surprised at how many people are viewing your website through mobile devices.

Mobile internet users has now surpassed Desktop internet users. This means that if your website is not responsive, there is a very good chance that you will lose potential leads or customers. The research shows that most people will abandon a website that is not responsive (when viewing on their mobile device).

What Does Responsive Web Design Look Like?

The purpose of responsive design is to have one site, but with altered elements that respond differently when viewed on devices with different screen sizes.

Responsive web design exampleLet’s take a traditional “fixed” website. When viewed on a desktop computer, the website may show three columns. However, when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it may force you to scroll horizontally, something users do not like. In addition, elements might be hidden from view or look distorted. The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation, or turned sideways for landscape view.

On a small smartphone screen, websites can be even more difficult to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they have a lot of graphic content.

However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version may automatically change to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and simple to navigate. On a smartphone, the content may appear as a single column (possibly stacked vertically). Images will resize instead of muddling the layout or getting cut off.
With responsive design, the website automatically adjusts based on the device the user views it on.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. All page elements are sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say precisely how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. For instance, column 1 should take up half the page, column 2 should take up 30%, and column 3 should take up 20%.
Media such as images is also resized relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element.

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